"Be open to your dreams, people. Embrace that distant shore. Because our mortal journey is over all too soon." -Chris Stevens
Question #89575 posted on 04/30/2017 12:32 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board ,

Guten tag ! Which languages do you speak and how/where did you learn them ?

- Danke Schoen

A:

Dear Thanks,

I speak Math. English on the other hand is a bit spotty, though.

~Anathema

A:

Dear Danke,

I used to be decently conversational in German, due to high school studies and living there for 3 months.

My post mission to Mexico Spanish remains in great shape.

I've started studying Japanese as a hobby. My current level is...weak.

Der Berliner (who you would think should be fantastic at German, and no, I didn't live in Berlin. It was Cologne.)

A:

Caro Umano, 

Parlo italiono, ma non e' piu bene.

Cordialmente,

La Rossa Appassionato

A:

Dear you,

Well, I speak English. I learned it from my parents, mostly.

I served a mission in Mexico, so I think I got Spanish down pretty well.

I grew up hearing German (albeit the Swiss dialect) from my mother and grandmother, though I didn't really start learning it until I took GERM 101 a couple years ago. I also audited GERM 201 and 202, and I think I did decently in all of them, although I've definitely forgotten some in the past year. I'm pretty good at recognizing what people are saying, but I'd like to get a chance to have some German immersion to really solidify the vocabulary.

I've tried learning Italian before (mostly through Duolingo, but also it was the language I pretended to study for my high school foreign language credit when I was homeschooled), but I really only know a few basic words. I'd say my pronunciation when reading it is pretty good, though.

-The Entomophagist

A:

Dear Danke's Inferno,

I speak the secret and unknowable dialect of the Ancients, which was whispered to me by the sailing rocks of the desert in the dead of night while the wind swirled overhead and howled its disapproval. I expect the heralds of the antediluvian regents any minute now.

Also I speak English and Spanish because I was born in the U.S.A. and served a mission in Florida.

-Frère Rubik

A:

Dear Doctor,

I speak Finnish.

I really really really want to train our (future) dog with Finnish commands, but Spectre is trying to talk me out of it.

-Tally M.

A:

Dear Danke,

I like Petra's idea of listing them from best to worst. Also, I'm going to test myself by seeing if I can translate your question into each of them. (Like Optimistic., I am going to leave my errors uncorrected for posterity.)

English - Native speaker

French ("Quelles langues parlez-vous et comment/où est-ce que vous les avez aprises?") - 6 years in junior high and high school, B.A. in French literature (and an Advanced High OPI rating even though I had never set foot in a Francophone country or province) - This is the only language I'd say I actually "speak" besides English and even then I wish my vocabulary was a lot better.

German ("Welche Sprachen sprechen Sie und wie/wo haben Sie diese gelernen?") - 1 year in high school, 2 years in college - I'm working on relearning German on Duolingo this year because I feel like my German is pretty pitiful. On the other hand, it was a lot easier for me to translate your sentence into German than it was into Russian, so maybe I'm better than I think.

Russian ("Вы знаете какие языки? Как/где вы они изучились?") - 2 years in college - In some ways, I feel like my Russian is better than my German. (For instance, memorizing grammatical gender—my Achilles' heel in German—is much easier in Russian because it's almost entirely regular.) At the end of the day, though, English is a Germanic language, not a Slavic one, which means that there are a lot more cognates in German than in Russian and that simply makes Russian harder to speak and understand. (I also had to modify the sentence a bit because I wasn't sure the appropriate preposition to use with "to speak," so I changed it to "What languages do you know?")

Spanish ("Cuales lenguas habla usted y como/dónde las ha aprendí?") - 2 1/2 years self-taught with Duolingo - I'm pretty sure my translated sentence isn't entirely right, but I'm also pretty sure it isn't entirely wrong, which surprises me, actually. I feel like I'm getting pretty good at reading basic Spanish, but between French and English there are so many cognates that sometimes that doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment.

Welsh - 1 semester in college - I don't really remember how to say anything other than "I don't speak Welsh well but I studied it a bit in college." ("Dydw i ddim yn siarad Cymraeg yn dda, ond rwy wedi ei astudio e typyn bach yn y brifysgol.") I still know how to pronounce it, though, and I remember some of the grammar. This is another language I wouldn't mind brushing up on.

Mandarin - 1 semester in college - I can still recognize a few characters and I can look an unfamiliar character up in a dictionary. (I have to do it by stroke count, though, because I'm not good with radicals, so it's reeeeeally slow.) I can also write characters so long as there aren't too many strokes (but my penmanship isn't good).

Navajo - learned some words (and a song) a few years ago when I had a Navajo coworker - I could probably fake my way through pronouncing it well enough to fool a non-speaker. From the little I know about Navajo, it sounds like learning it would be about as challenging as all the other languages I've studied, put together.

- Katya

A:

Dear Danke, 

Does Phonics count? bcuz i cn red fnetik nd nventd speleng rele wl.

-Ms.O'Malley

A:

Dear Dank Shane,

Portuguese, and scientific articles. Learned both by intense immersion therapy for multiple years and it was often frustrating.

- Rating Pending (who had the term "significantly" drilled out of him unless you can show that someone actually ran an appropriate statistical test and the difference between two things was significant to an appropriate degree of probability)

A:

Dear Danke Shoen,

I wouldn't say I still speak all of these, but I've studied a bunch of different languages. In rough order of my continued competence, from best to worst:

English, from my parents, and strenuously resisted learning Spanish from them. (My mom is American but grew up in Latin America.)

Indonesian, from living there in high school and after college, plus classes in grad school  

Arabic, from classes at BYU and study abroad programs to Egypt and Jordan 

French, from classes in high school and at BYU. 

Javanese, from living there after college

Hindi, from classes in high school and from visiting my family living in India 

Latin, from classes in high school

Welsh, from classes at BYU

German, from classes at BYU 

Vietnamese, from classes in grad school plus a summer spent doing fieldwork there

Chru, from my summer doing fieldwork 

Kawaiisu, from working with native speakers while I was in grad school 

Yurok, from classes in grad school 

Chungli Ao, from classes in grad school 

Sundanese, from some projects in grad school 

Please don't ask me to have a conversation in most of those. 

-Petra 

A:

Dear Danke,

In addition to English, I'm fluent in Spanish, thanks to the fact that I've been taking Spanish classes for about a decade now (ever since I was 12) and having served my mission in Chile.

I'm somewhat decent at Portuguese--I can understand it when I read, I can communicate very basic things, and I mostly understand what people say in it. I originally started learning Portuguese when I was 10 and my uncle married a Brazilian, then I gave it up for Spanish, then on my mission I taught a bunch of Brazilians and started picking it up again (but I've only gotten worse at it since returning).

Currently I'm working on learning French from my fiance, who's taken a bunch of French classes and served his mission in Paris. My progress in it is slow. 

-Alta

A:

Liebe Wie Gehts,

I speak conversational French and Arabic. I took French all through Jr. High and until my senior year of high school, then self-study took me to a high enough level to be considered a linguist. I majored in Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic at BYU and took a study abroad in Jordan in 2009. This combination of languages has come in quite handy on this deployment as I spent a significant amount of time in Djibouti and other Francophone and Arabophone (?) countries in Africa. I translated a few US Army manuals into French and Arabic and conducted a week of battalion-level training for the Djiboutian Army without an interpreter. That was nerve-wracking but it turned out very well.

I learned some phrases in Lugandan and Swahili (enough to have the same conversation with the gate guards every day) and I wrote an English/Sango dictionary for a different mission to which I was assigned. Sango is the language of the eastern Central African Republic, for those of you who aren't familiar with it. I don't speak it and there's no way I would understand it if I heard it (I spoke French with the people when I was there), but I know a bunch of words by sight. Not a useful talent to have in a tonal language that is essentially solely spoken. The total vocabulary is about 3,000 words and to borrow from Wikipedia: "A study ... indicates that some 490 native Sango words account for about 90% of colloquial speech." It's mostly something interesting that I can bring out at parties, it's pretty safe to say I'll probably never be exposed to Sango again.

Other languages I have a passing familiarity with but do not speak with any degree of fluency; Latin (my wife is a Latin teacher, and I have been trying to learn so I can help her grade homework), German (my grandpa used to curse at me in German, and my elementary school taught all 4th grade students a year of German), and Russian (I got a Pimsleur Russian CD on my mission in order to try to better connect with the Russian population in my mission. My conversation is limited to stock introductions and inside jokes with my brother in law, who is a fluent speaker [Hello! Do you speak Russian? I do not speak Russian! I only speak English. Yes, no, a little bit, happy, go away, I'm naked! {not learned on my mission, I learned that as a hockey instructor, because the english word 'goalie' sounds like the Russian word for naked, 'Голый'}])

Dr. Smeed

A:

Liebe Bitte Schoen,

I speak English and German.  My German studies include three years in high school, two years of a mission in Germany, and three years of study at the university level culminating in a B.A. in German.

I probably need to put in a bit more work on my English.

I sure hope this helps.  Please don't hate me.

- Brutus

A:

Dear you,

I am pretty good at Chiac. I studied French at school before my mission, got called in English, and got put into a "French" (read: Chiac) area.

I can speak regular French if the person I'm speaking to is willing to have the conversation with me. If they're not willing to have the conversation with me, they can also easily make it too challenging for me to keep up. I am very fluent in Book of Mormon French and I could probably teach the Restoration in French still.

I kind of took German 101 at BYU, because I decided at the last minute that I didn't want to take CS 240 and I needed another 4-credit class. I showed up maybe half the days, but I know how to pronounce ß now, which came in handy one time at the temple. I went to get my name and the worker asked, "Do you speak German?" For some reason, I confidently answered "yes," even though I don't even say "yes" when people ask me if I speak French. Fortunately, she just had someone with the last name "Voß," or "Voss," so I was able to handle the situation without embarrassing myself.

I took Spanish in high school. According to a mission companion I had from Venezuela, by way of Quebec, my Spanish accent is better than my French accent, which I find frustrating because I have spent at least three times as long studying French. My husband also informs me that I pronounce some French words with a Spanish accent. I don't remember much of any actual Spanish these days, though.

-Zedability

A:

Dear Reader,

I speak French because I served my mission in a French-speaking country and then followed it up with a French minor at BYU. Of course, almost 10 years later, I'm extremely rusty and have a crappy accent. But I can get by...

Best,

The Man with a Mustache

A:

Dear Sam,

I speak English (der) and also Chinese, but not yet fluent. My comprehension is pretty up there, but I don't practice actually speaking it nearly enough. I started learning when I lived in Taiwan, took a summer class and three semesters of formal lessons, and now I live with a native speaker who sometimes likes to force me to practice. Also my non-English speaking in-laws just left after spending six weeks in my house. 

-Az

A:

Dear Danke Schoen,

I'm a native English speaker, studied French, Latin and Ancient Greek in high school, and studied Japanese at BYU.

-Sky Bones 

A:

Dear Danke,

I still speak pretty good Portuguese from my mission.

I speak mediocre but functional Italian; it's basically knock-off Portuguese so I could get pretty far teaching myself, and I also took some classes at BYU. (Once you've forced your way through Lord of the Rings in a language you'll probably end up decent.) 

I have largely forgotten Spanish, despite 3 years of it in high school: it's similar enough to Portuguese that it more or less got overwritten in my mind. I can read and speak some Portanhol but it isn't going to be pretty.

I somehow pulled an A- in BYU's 5 credit accelerated Latin class by dint of cramming, but I'm not entirely sure I passed the final (cramming can get you through individual tests but doesn't work for cumulative language knowledge, y'all).

I got an A in BYU's 5 credit intro to Russian, which I legitimately did learn (this was after the Latin experience), but that was also pre-mission and now only manifests as a spotty understanding of Cyrillic characters.

~Professor Kirke

A:

Dear thanks,

I speak English. I was born here.

日本語もできる。日本の東北地方で宣教師として二年間働いたんだ。

Я немного готовю по-русски язык. Я инсползобал дуолингу один год назад.

Yo hablo Espanol un poquito.

I thought about proofreading and correcting these, but I'd rather leave the errors here as a testament to my relative proficiency in those languages. (Most proficient at the top, least at the bottom.)

- D.A.R.E.

A:

Dear proszę (not prosię),

I speak English because America.

I took French for about 7 years in school and then promptly forgot it all because I learned Polish for my mission after not speaking French for about 2 years. So now I'd say that I speak English and Polish well, and can read and understand French on a basic level.

Żyj chwilą,
Sherpa Dawidek

A:

Dear mein hut,

我会说一点西班牙语。

Y pueblo hablar un poco mandarín.

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear thou,

To be terse,
I speak in verse.

-100 Hour Bard

A:

Dear you,

French and (some) Spanish apart from English, both learned on my mission in Quebec.

~Dr. Occam